Upheaval in Iraq

On Tuesday Islamic fundamentalist radicals affiliated with Al Qaeda took control of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city. That was quickly followed by Tikrit. Yesterday Kurdish peshmerga took control of Kirkuk. Over at Outside the Beltway Doug Mataconis has a link-filled post on the upheaval in Iraq:

Obviously, any decision to intervene in Iraq even in a limited fashion would be fraught with domestic political complications for the Obama Administration. At the top of that list, of course, there’s the fact that President Obama campaigned for office on his opposition to the Iraq War and for re-election on the fact that he presided over the end of that war. Making the case to the American public for what would obviously be new American intervention in Iraq that could not credibly be sold as an extension of the 2003 war would be difficult for any President, of course, but it would be doubly difficult for him. Second, of course, there’s the fact that the the American public has a negative opinion of the Iraq War even today, an opinion that has shaped public opinion regarding the propriety of U.S. involvement in other world hot spots such as Libya, Syria, and Ukraine.

The balance of this post is a comment of mine I’ve resurrected from that thread.

I think the Kurds taking Kirkuk, something I predicted shortly after the fall of Mosul, is an important development. Although there haven’t been any reliable censuses of Iraq for decades back in the 1960s Kirkuk’s population was 75% Kurds and Turkomans. Mosul was mostly Kurds and Assyrians (Christian Iraqis—Syriac, Chaldean, Nestorian). In the 1970s Saddam began his program of “Arabization”, ethnic cleansing, forcibly removing Kurdish and Christian families from their homes and replacing them with Muslim Arab families so that now both cities are majority Arab.

I expect a bitter fight for both cities. Kirkuk is oil-rich and it’s a valuable prize. I don’t expect things to end here.

It certainly looks as though Iraq were collapsing into ethnic enclaves. I hope that those who think that a war raging from the Mediterranean to the Tigris (or, worse, to the Hindu Kush) won’t affect us are right.


From Daniel Henninger’s column at the WSJ:

Now if you want to vent about ” George Bush’s war,” be my guest. But George Bush isn’t president anymore. Barack Obama is because he wanted the job and the responsibilities that come with the American presidency. Up to now, burying those responsibilities in the sand has never been in the job description.

Mosul’s fall matters for what it reveals about a terrorism whose threat Mr. Obama claims he has minimized. For starters, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) isn’t a bunch of bug-eyed “Mad Max” guys running around firing Kalashnikovs. ISIS is now a trained and organized army.

The seizures of Mosul and Tikrit this week revealed high-level operational skills. ISIS is using vehicles and equipment seized from Iraqi military bases. Normally an army on the move would slow down to establish protective garrisons in towns it takes, but ISIS is doing the opposite, by replenishing itself with fighters from liberated prisons.

An astonishing read about this group is on the website of the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War. It is an analysis of a 400-page report, “al-Naba,” published by ISIS in March. This is literally a terrorist organization’s annual report for 2013. It even includes “metrics,” detailed graphs of its operations in Iraq as well as in Syria.

Mr. Henninger’s predictions of “a) a second Syria or b) a restored caliphate” are, unfortunately, the best-case scenarios. The “Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham” is inclusive not only of Iraq and Syria but Lebanon as well. Their ambitions are much grander than a second Syria.

47 comments… add one
  • TastyBits

    Permanent US bases in Iraq were always needed to stabilize the area. Why this is not obvious is beyond me.

  • As I said in a previous post the entire policy towards the region at least from 2001 forwards if not for many years previous has been botched.

  • ...

    Osama bin Laden = Ray Kroc of ‘extreme’ political activism.

  • ...

    Okay, if ISIS is a trained, organized and equipped army, who trained, organized and (initially at least) equipped them? Has our true enemy revealed themselves?

  • Guarneri

    Relax. I have it on good authority that Michelle is developing a vigorous hash tag campaign that will resolve all your concerns.

  • jan

    This administration’s main focus has been to domestically implement ideological social programs, rather than address the immediate need in ’09, to grow the economy, creating real job opportunity. At the same time, the haphazard, weak foreign policies implemented have been more designed to curry political favor and kudos among the liberal base, than having a strong, strategic plan beneficial in maintaining stability here and abroad.

    Consequently, Henninger’s comment about “burying those responsibilities in the sand has never been in the job description,” is what has happened under Obama’s flimsy, hapless leadership — one that has been hesitant, begrudging, directionless, clueless. And, when he does finally take his finger away from the wind currents, his directives often counter those of experts on the ground or in the immediate fray of the problems. For instance, this president’s robotic, ill thought out decision to talk about his Iraq time line before leaving, was further impacted by indiscriminately pulling all troops out, against the military advice of those in the region. This, IMO, is akin to not finishing a prescription of antibiotics, and then surprised when a super infection follows — like what is happening with the influx of fighters flooding Iraq from Syria, the site of one of his previous foreign policy missteps, failures, which then festered and created more terrorists.

    Just follow the Obama foreign policy dots, and they’ll lead you to our present world chaos and potential catastrophic outcomes in the future. This is because his foreign policy legacy is literally littered with a long string of “incompletes” — from Libya, Syria, the Arab Spring in which he unwisely courted the Muslim Brotherhood and then turned his head when the people revolted, to Iraq now falling apart and Afghanistan on the heels of doing the same thing. Throw in Putin’s agression in Ukraine, China’s reslessness with Japan, and N. Korea burping missiles for fun, and you have quite an unstable mix of unrestrained, unaddressed problems out there.

    Ralph Peter’s put Obama true legacy, though, in no uncertain terms, saying he will be known as the president who created the first militant Islamic caliphate — not as the one to end the ME wars.

  • jan

    …oh, I forgot one of Obama’s most impressive moves — his negotiations with Iran where they are on the precipice of nuclear capability — it will only take a minor adjustment to their enrichment program to reverse their “promises.”

  • Michael Reynolds

    Everything you just wrote is untrue. Go back and read about the SOFA negotiations. Read about Maliki and what the CIA already knew by the time panicky Bush administration flunkies propped him up as a leader. When you come here spouting Sean Hannitys idiocy you just sound stupid or at very least willfully misinformed.

  • Guarneri

    “I am very optimistic about — about Iraq. I mean, this could be one of the great achievements of this administration. You’re going to see 90,000 American troops come marching home by the end of the summer. You’re going to see a stable government in Iraq that is actually moving toward a representative government,” said Biden.

    “I spent — I’ve been there 17 times now. I go about every two months — three months. I know every one of the major players in all of the segments of that society. It’s impressed me. I’ve been impressed how they have been deciding to use the political process rather than guns to settle their differences.”

    Joe “Michael Reynolds Alter Ego” Biden

  • TastyBits


    I find it amusing that you blame President Obama for President Bush’s lack of will. President Bush should have “negotiated” 100 year leases and Status of Forces Agreements on day 2 after the take-down of Saddam Hussein. I would have had these written into the Iraqi constitution also.

    Instead, President Bush was delusional, and he believed that the human animal yearns for freedom. The US won, and the US got to set the terms of any “negotiations”.

    Let me help out the delusional hawks. A strong ascendent Russia is good for the US. Russia is no threat to the US, but it is a threat to Europe. A strong ascendent Russia will help to focus the European mind. They can decide which is a greater threat – a life giving gas or a death delivering tank.

    In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood were never in control. I do not know what was going on behind the scene, but the Egyptian military was in control.

    In Libya, I am confused. The hawks wanted Gaddafi taken out, and President Obama helped to get rid of him. Yet, the hawks are still bitching about Libya. Libya is a mess because Gaddafi is gone, and the US has lost a valuable intelligence asset. I would think both sides would be happy.

    In Syria, I am confused also. The bad rebels just beat the US trained Iraqi army, but the ragtag good rebels are going to be able to keep any arms the US gives them? Am I missing something? Honestly, delusional is a really nice way of saying f*cking insane.

    Remember when President Reagan armed the good rebels in Afghanistan. I am fairly certain that was not a thank-you they were sending on 9/11.

    President Bush was a hawk, and he did a piss-poor half-assed job in the Middle East. President Obama is a dovish hawk at best, and you think he is going to do better?

  • steve

    jan still doesnt realize that other countries have their own governments. The US should, in her estimation, just tell other countries what to do and they should comply. Tasty’s idea is interesting, but I’m not sure such an agreement written in duress would be binding.

    I wish there was a good answer here. I think this is what happens if we leave in 5 more years or 20 more years. They have been fighting over there pretty much non-stop for the last 50-60 years. Do we have an obligation to try to make things right since we screwed up the country by invading? Maybe we did, but I dont think this is eternal.


  • I’m confused, too, TastyBits. For one thing I’m confused about why we didn’t dictate terms to Iraq when we conquered them. I’m confused about why we invaded without the political will to conclude a peace. I think that invading was an error but invading and then not dictating the terms of surrender was compounding the error.

  • ...

    Tasty’s idea is interesting, but I’m not sure such an agreement written in duress would be binding.

    Seemed to work with Japan and Germany in the latter half of the 1940s.

    Anyone else for the idea of giving the whole goddamned mess back to Turkey? I’d be willing to kick in some electronically created money to help them do it.

  • CStanley

    I’m confused about why we invaded without the political will to conclude a peace.

    This is where it becomes clear that GWB wasn’t as smart as his supporters think he is, though he’s not as dumb as his opponents think either. I really don’t think he understood what it was going to take.

    There’s plenty of blame to go around to both administrations though. The surge strategy helped in Iraq but we mains underestimated the pushback that we’d get during the SOFA negotiations. And while I agree with those who are saying that the fault there lies with the Bush administration, it’s also true that Obama and his supporters can’t have it both ways by claiming that he ended the war and brought the troops home while also putting all of the negatives on the previous administration.

    And then there was the disastrous handling of Syria (including, I suspect, a lot that isn’t publicly known about our meddling there) which has led to the massive strengthening of ISIL. And we were caught off guard by this, really? I am not sure which is worse, if that is true or if it’s not.

    Face it, no one has covered themselves with glory here.

  • michael reynolds

    As I’ve confessed numerous times Iraq was a 51/49 for me. I didn’t buy the rationales. I believed, rather, that we were attempting to remake the ME by turning Iraq into a model.

    I was quickly disabused of the notion that the Bush administration had any plan, any plan at all, for Iraq. Too few troops to maintain order, no will to dictate terms. It was unbelievable. It’s still unbelievable. To this day I can’t get my head around the sheer stupidity, the ignorance, the simple laziness of the whole thing. It’s like they believed magic would occur.

    Iraq was lost in the first few weeks. For the rest of his time in office Mr. Bush – with the help of Cheney and Rumsfeld, tweedle-dumb and tweedle-dumber – tried to stuff the toothpaste back into the tube. But even their repair efforts were feckless and in any case too late.

    The incompetence is stunning.

    The only thing more stunning is to see Bush acolytes now trying to blame this mess on Obama. Sorry: no way. Bush screwed up so thoroughly that he spent five years trying to fix his own fuck-up and failed. Blaming the next POTUS for failing to fix the mess that Bush made and failed to fix for himself, is sickening dishonesty.

    Jan, if you had even a shred of intellectual honesty you’d be embarrassed.

  • michael reynolds


    What exactly did we do that in any way, shape or form caused the mess in Syria? The civil war there did not occur because we threatened to bomb Assad if he used chemical weapons. Nor is there any logical basis for assuming that any action of ours could have stopped the war, improved the war or made the war nicer.

    The situation in Iraq, however, did occur because of specific US actions. Ditto Libya. But Syria? No, that one is not on us.

  • ...

    This is where it becomes clear that GWB wasn’t as smart as his supporters think he is, though he’s not as dumb as his opponents think either.

    That’s not saying a lot either way.

  • jan

    “I find it amusing that you blame President Obama for President Bush’s lack of will. “


    Was I talking about Bush?

    Why is it that when critical comments are made about the current president, the one who has held office for some 5 1/2 years, negative blowback follows about Bush. Also, in those retorts, people seem to assume that not liking Obama’s policies automatically means one is defending Bush and his domestic/foreign policy decisions. In my case, that’s not the case. I’m just living in the present moment, dealing with the present president, and aiming all grievances at the guy who is in charge — not the one who is a past tense leader of this country

    IMO, whatever errors, bad decisions, inept policies that were generated under Bush, Obama seemed eager in ’08 to take them on, and make the necessary changes to rectify them. IMO, he has not fulfilled that mission. Our debt is getting bigger, faster; our country and Congress is more polarized; our foreign policy is incoherent and in disarray; our economy remains anemic and uninspiring; our privacy is more threatened; our healthcare policies are disdained by the majority of the people, and the costs are going up, not down; government agencies, like the IRS, VA, DOJ, HHS have violated the people’s trust and are either under investigation or have ongoing judicial appeals in progress.

    As for Iraq, inadequate or dim-witted treaties, agreements, arrangements are always subject to updating and renegotiation — as long as a leader has the interest, skill sets and importantly has enough desire to put forth the effort to do so. Obama/Biden did none of this on their finalization of terms with Iraq. All they wanted to do was get out of Dodge. Consequently, much of the advice given by the military went unheeded. The chaos now witnessed in Iraq has been brewing for the last year. It too was ignored, and is coming to a head. Only now, when the event is almost out of hand, is there a stirring of concern, and a rumbling of some help being possibly offered, by this administration. But, as most seasoned people know, small problems attended to are easier to fix, than when they become too big and unwieldy. The latter is what has been allowed to happen in Iraq. The tactics employed and slow response time to escalating events (patterns similarly enacted in prior ME crisises) have been occurring on this president’s watch, and no other’s.

  • jan


    You’re blinded by a rigidity of your partisan perspective. I think CStanley has just about the right blend of who did what in both the past and present inglorious administrations. The only caveat is that Bush is out of power, Obama is in the driver’s seat, and hence on the hot seat.

  • CStanley

    @Michael- I admit I’m getting ahead of the data and could be proven wrong but I think we were arming the Syrian rebels. Add to that the screwed up diplomatic rhetoric and I think we took a bad situation and made it worse than it had to be. If we’d really kept out of it, I think Assad would have had plenty of help in putting down the rebels. I’m not sure what our end game even was, but it seems like the administration must have had something in mind but then lost nerve, or thought that they could bluff and it failed,

    So no, not all Obama’s fault but clearly the emerging situation wasn’t managed well either. Is that as bad as Bush actually invading? Nope, and I wasn’t making an equivalency.

  • ...

    Look, the Obama worshipers are going to want to talk about George Bush ad nauseum because they can’t make this about whites hating black people.

    The question is, what should be done now?

    By Barack Obama’s logic, fighting in Iraq was the ‘bad’ war because it took the focus off fighting al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Well, now an al Qaeda offshoot has taken over a large part of Iraq and is threatening to sweep through more areas, including Baghdad if the headlines are to be believed. So if fighting al Qaeda is the thing we should be focused on, why are we leaving an allied government out to hang? I can’t see a rationale for OBAMA to do that, given his stated preferences for who to kill.

  • ...

    I’m not sure what our end game even was….

    Why, it was for the ten proponents of democracy in Syria to win an election. I mean, that’s how revolutions are settled, right? By the disorganized unarmed few winning an election against the organized armed groups after everyone agrees that shooting people is wrong. Right?

  • ...

    Excuse me, ISIS is actually winning a war against al Qaeda now as a more vigorous offshoot. Apparently they’re putting pressure on Syrian Kurds, al Qaeda’s group in Syria, the Syrian government and the Iraqi government. Not sure how they’re doing against Iraqi Kurds at this point.

    This is starting to remind me of all the turmoil during the first decade or so of the French Revolution. Is this al Baghdaddi guy their Napoleon, or just another Robespierre?

    I still say we should arm the Turks up and offer them the whole shooting match. Surely they’d like to control all that oil and the Suez Canal?

  • michael reynolds


    So no, not all Obama’s fault but clearly the emerging situation wasn’t managed well either. Is that as bad as Bush actually invading? Nope, and I wasn’t making an equivalency.

    The problem is that some messes cannot simply be un-messed. Mailiki is not an allied government. He’s a Shiite extremist who – and the CIA knew this even while Mr. Bush was installing him – hates Americans. Maliki has done nothing to woo the Sunni, he’s rejected all our efforts to convince him to share power outside his Shia base, he refused to reach a SOFA, and now he’s reaping what he (and we) sowed.

    If a third country should be helping Maliki out, where’s Iran? Iran’s pretty good about threatening us, how are they with using their alleged military assets to help their boy in Baghdad?

    We could certainly throw some bombs at ISIS, and no doubt we’ll be droning them sooner or later. But unless Mr. Maliki stops behaving like a (weak) strong man and finds a way to win over Sunni support we are not going to be accomplishing anything permanent.

  • ...

    This gets better and better. If I’m understanding the British papers correctly, ISIS has about 17,000 fighters, with which they are controlling an area bigger than Jordan. Screw the Turks, let’s start backing this al Baghdadi fellow to conquer the Arab world.

  • TastyBits


    Iraq is all about President Bush’s decisions and outcomes. Furthermore, the Iraqi action destabilized the surrounding area, and it is about that also.

    The time for “negotiating” deals was when the cement was wet, and that was when President Bush was in office. Hence, President Bush is responsible for the lack of agreements. When President Bush did not establish permanent bases, it was game over. Period.

    Is President Obama also responsible for the Korean Truce?

    Negotiations are done between equals. Iraq is not the equal of the US. Anybody advocating actual negotiations with Iraq is either delusional or “childish and silly”. Take your pick.

    Again, President Bush did a piss-poor half-assed job in Iraq. It does not sound like you think President Obama is more competent. If so, why in the world would you want him to drag the US back into Iraq?

    Maybe it is time for the rest of the world to get their priorities straight. If the Muslims hate the US, let them have the terrorists. Once the terrorists start running countries, guess what. New terrorist groups will spring up against them. It is all about feedback loops.

  • ...

    You will note that on this issue as with the economy, Reynolds recommends doing nothing, with the idea being, “What can anyone do?” Never mind that with this, as with the economy, much IS being done. We’re backing Syrian rebels, we became the air wing of the rebels in Lybia, we’ve withdrawn and extended support to the generals in Cairo so many times its hard to keep track of it, we’re droning folks in Pakistan & Yemen (and who knows were else), we’re still in Afghanistan, I imagine we’ve got fuck all amounts of firepower in the region in the form of carrier groups. And so on.

    But no, nothing can be done here, folks, nothing at all. Just like with the economic crisis, where $85B a month was getting pumped into the financial system to make certain rich people got richer, but nothing could be done to help people with falling wages or no job at all. Well, except open the borders and import tens of millions more people to compete for jobs, etc.

    One wonders why we have a President, much less an entire Administration, if he & they can’t think of anything to do except play golf.

  • ...

    Can this al Baghdadi guy be bought? Let’s say we fund him into starting a new Caliphate. He can take Syria and Iraq and maybe Jordan and Lebanon because who cares? Help him take all that, fund him, tell him leave us alone, let him wipe out all the al Qaeda guys he can, and at the end of it one dictator to deal with, who will find himself too busy running a country to cause too much mischief. (Yes, Lockerbie was bad, but it was a whole order of magnitude below what a bunch of guys in caves managed to do. I guess Qaddafi was too busy running his country to come up with anything REALLY imaginative, while what else were the guys in the caves going to work on?)

    By then the Iranians will have The Bomb and the al Baghdadi Caliphate can then oppose them. The Kurds will still be a sore point for several nations, but that’s their job.

    Yeah, someone see if this Baghdadi guy is willing to make a deal!

  • ...

    Why the fuck are we in the Middle East again? If we rush to the Iraq government’s aid, we will be standing shoulder to shoulder with Bashar Assad and the Ayatollahs of Iran in order to go after the world’s most effective killers of al Qaeda.

    This is way more fucked up than fizbin. Or the average German porno film.

  • ...

    LMAO, the more I read about the particulars here, the more I think Obama’s natural indecisive incompetence will be the USA’s best defense against a bad outcome for us. He isn’t Barack Obama, he’s Chance the Gardner made King! Let’s go with it!

  • ...

    Yeah, let’s do nothing. If we’re allying ourselves with Ba’athists, Ayatollahs and al Qaeda in order to … I’m not sure what … then our foreign policy has clearly jumped the shark.

    And let’s just pick someone to back and back them until the conquer everything in the Arab world. Pick al Baghdadi, or the Turks, or the Egyptians, or whatever (the Israelis don’t have the man-power or the ability to win people to their cause), and back them to the hilt until the conquer all of it. Then they’ll be too busy staying in charge to cause mischief on too large a scale.

  • ...

    I would, however, add this bit of advice to our allies in Afghanistan: Get out now while the getting is good. We’re not likely to do a thing to help save your asses from the Taliban after we leave.

  • steve

    Dave- Your article says they received new boots and uniforms. No weapons. Three weeks of training. It doesnt say which groups it was training.


  • michael reynolds

    What’s happening now is the result of Bush’s incompetence, but also the result of a whole lot of history. This is fall of the Ottoman Empire, British and French imperialism, Sunni/Shia split, modern vs. traditional, national vs. tribal stuff going on here.

    We can drop bombs on ISIS or not drop bombs on ISIS. That’s about it. That’s what’s on the table. We are not going to re-invade Iraq, the American people wouldn’t tolerate it. I’m not sure they’d tolerate us running a major air war against these people.

    The American people are as done with Iraq as they are with Vietnam by the time it fell.

    What we cannot do is fix Iraq. The choices Mr. Bush had were either A) Leave Saddam alone or B) Invade, occupy, dominate, shove democratic and pluralistic institutions down Iraqi throats for 20 years. Those were the choices. Mr. Bush chose C) Invade, fail to occupy, run a bunch of idiot apparatchiks in, throw billions of dollars away and set up a puppet government by a guy who hates our guts. That’s not fixable. There are some messes in life that cannot be fixed.

    Demanding Obama somehow fix Iraq is as dishonest and asinine as demanding Jerry Ford fix Vietnam. Too fucking late. The damage is done. Now we are dealing with the aftereffects of Mr. Bush’s policies and actions. And again, we have these choices: 1) Drop some bombs, 2) Don’t drop some bombs. I’m all for killing terrorist assholes so I won’t object to choice #1, but let’s not kid ourselves that it will accomplish anything.

  • Guarneri

    I say you are all short sighted in your criticism. Go to the source. Lucifer is to blame. That Garden of Eden thingy.

    We always accept that from our executives.

  • steve

    Nice Bacevich piece which is relevant I think.



  • ...

    Reynolds, didn’t Obama and Biden take a victory lap on Iraq a few years back? If so, don’t they need to explain how they won Iraq and then Bush lost it again while learning to paint by numbers?

  • jan


    Maybe this is what you referring to:

    Biden saying that Iraq would be one of Obama’s greatest accomplishments, in a 2010 clip.

  • Since I am bitterly opposed to “national greatness” foreign policy, I’m not much of a Robert Kagan fan.

  • ...

    That article fails to mention that Obama’s foreign policy in Eastern Europe and Russia is run/created by Kagan’s daughter-in-law, so I’d take that bit about Obama ignoring Kagan with a grain of salt. Kagan has influence in many camps.

    The main difference between Bush and Obama seems to be that Obama believes he can bomb or drone countries into order and Bush thought troops on the ground were also necessary for that purpose. Neither seems to think that history and benighted self interest have to be accounted for.

  • ...

    I believe there’s a clip of Obama declaring victory, too. When I can get to a real computer I’ll try to remember to look it up.

    But this new Iraq situation really looks like another good opportunity to do nothing. Iran and Sunni nutcases look like they’re about to get into it near Baghdad. To quote a movie from this summer, “Let them fight!”

  • Cstanley
  • ...

    Obama declaring an end to the war in Iraq, December 14, 2011.

    I’m too lazy to listen to it all, but the Guardian, at least, characterized Obama as declaring Iraq a success but not a victory.

    So the question for Obama is how did it go from a success to a disaster in two and a half years, and what did he do about it? I guess more of those twists and turns he spoke of.

  • ...

    Schuler’s 7:15 link and Cstanley’s 10:23 link hint at a possible answer as to who has been training these ISIS guys. But it doesn’t quite fit. Saw reports today that they’re now conducting attacks in company and battalion strength. Where are they getting their training? This seems more involved than the stuff they’d’ve learned ambushing convoys in Afghanistan.

  • jan

    There have been rumors of arms shipments through Libya, facilitated by Turkey, and onto Syria since before Benghazi. In fact such a covert operation is suggested to be the reason why Chris Stephens was in Benghazi, in the first place, meeting with a Turkish diplomat.

    It may also be the reason why this administration did so little to help that night, afterwards coming up with a loony-tunes video causing the attack, and have continued to either cover-up details, on-the ground accounts, or slough the whole thing off as nothing more than political maneuvering by the other side.

  • Cstanley

    According to this, ISIS has been fighting the Kurds in Syria pretty heavily and their ranks include a lot of Chechens.


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